Principles of fEC

Universities and other higher education organisations will use the Transparent Approach to Costing (TRAC) methodology to calculate full economic costs. This methodology has been validated by a quality assurance programme and is subject to ongoing review through arrangements to be put in place by the Funding Councils and the Research Councils. Other research organisations can apply for full economic costs provided that the methodology they adopt has been validated by the Research Councils as appropriate and robust. A questionnaire has been designed to determine this. Research Council institutes that are eligible to apply to EPSRC for research grants and fellowships will use a fEC methodology validated by their parent Research Council.

All organisations can opt to use default rates for Estates and Indirect costs, as an alternative to applying a comprehensive fEC methodology. Universities and other HEIs need to obtain dispensation from full operation of TRAC to use this approach. Other research organisations must indicate, when they next seek to submit a research application, a wish to adopt default rates. The default rates are published periodically by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on its website, and are based on averages of actual rates in use in the university sector. Non-universities must decide for themselves whether these default rates are applicable to their circumstances.

All costs that contribute to the full economic costs of a project may be included in fEC. There are, however, some costs that do not form part of the fEC of a project or are required to be charged in a specific way.